Torture Rack: Happy Birthday Bayonetta
Five years ago, PlatinumGames introduced us to Bayonetta, the most wicked, gun-toting witch to ever grace video game consoles. This would be the third project made by PlatinumGames, having seen some controversy and success with MadWorld for the Wii and Infinite Space on the Nintendo DS. Bayonetta marked the studio's first venture into the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 scene. This voluptuous vixen's debut title was written and directed by Hideki Kamiya, who is known for his contributions to Capcom and Clover Studio, where he most notably worked as the director of Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 2, Viewtiful Joe and Okami. Kamiya founded PlatinumGames alongside Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami and former Clover Studio CEO Atsushi Inaba.
Kamiya's team spent two years developing Bayonetta for the Xbox 360. Lead artist Mari Shimazaki wanted the characters to look cool, modernized and have a restrained but visible amount of sexuality to them. Bayonetta was given a beehive-like hairstyle in place of a traditional, pointy witch hat. Kamiya told Shimazaki that her iconic glasses were a must, in order to give her a sense of intelligence to go along with her modern look that strayed away from traditional Japanese video game characters.
Kamiya, Shimazaki and the rest of the team made sure the game was just as sexy as it was fun. Instead of blood, Bayonetta lost rose petals after being hit. They upped the sexiness by having Bayonetta lose parts of her clothing (which is actually made from her hair) in order to pull off her giant monster attacks. As Bayonetta summoned magical beasts or giant fists/boots to attack her enemies, she would lose some of her clothing, and would immediately revert back to normal once the attack finished. Bayonetta was a bit lanky in her character design, having been given a long pair of Stacy Keibler-like legs. In order to get everything to match, Bayonetta's arms and neck were a bit longer in proportion to her torso. We personally felt like it gave her a bit of a giraffe vibe, but we still loved slaying angels and demons alike as Bayonetta.
In terms of gameplay, things were a lot like Kamiya's Devil May Cry, especially in terms of difficulty. Bayonetta controls quite similar to Dante, but with her own brand of action. Instead of Dante's Ebony and Ivory handguns, Bayonetta had a set of four pistols, called Scarborough Fair. Two of her pistols were by her ankles, and she was able to fire bullets while wielding all four guns at once. She could swap weapons on the fly as well. Being able to combo together katana attacks and keep going with Scarborough Fair from a distance was a nice touch. We absolutely loved how she was able to spray out bullets in all directions from both her hands and feet in such elaborate, over-the-top ways.
Since her 2010 Western debut, Bayonetta has gone on to stand next to the likes of Samus and Lara Craft in terms of being strong, butt-kicking female protagonists in the video game industry. An anime film, titled Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, was released in 2013. In late 2014, PlatinumGames launched Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U. While Kamiya didn't direct this entry, he supervised its development. Recently, Nintendo announced that our favorite Umbran witch is joining the roster of Super Smash Bros. Later this year, PlatinumGames will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary, and we have a feeling Lady Bayonetta will one day return for an official third title.